March 15, 2006

Spychips, bluesphere, fabjects, everyware, spime

Essays and speeches by Bruce Sterling (and here)can be surreal, bizarre and stimulating, but never dull. A noted futurist and design prof, check out his speech from the recent O'Reilly Emerging Tech conference here.

A taste:

At the moment, we're eagerly debating the proper terminology for a future internet of things. This is a rather literary, language-centric speech tonight – as tech gigs go, anyway. Very wordy. If you want to talk Web 2.0, you can at least say, you know: "FlickR, " "Wikipedia." You might even meet Jimmy Wales or Caterina Fake, who are not futurists, but actual working web technologists. Web 2.0 is kind of a loose grab-bag of concepts, but Jimmy Wales isn't a loose grab-bag, Jimmy Wales physically exists. In the case of an Internet of Things or ubiquitous computation, the top guru in the field, Marc Weiser of Xerox PARC, has been dead for several years now. In the Internet of Things debate, people are still trying to find the loose verbal grab-bag just to put the concepts into. So I would argue that this work is basically a literary endeavour. When it comes to remote technical eventualities, you don't want to freeze the language too early. Instead, you need some empirical evidence on the ground, some working prototypes, something commercial, governmental, academic or military.... Otherwise you are trying to freeze an emergent technology into the shape of today's verbal descriptions. This prejudices people. It is bad attention economics. It limits their ability to find and understand the intrinsic advantages of the technology.

His novels are pretty good, too. via BoingBoing.

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